cover image Silver Spire

Silver Spire

Robert Goldsborough. Bantam Books, $19 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-553-07237-2

The West 35th Street regulars return in Goldsborough's ( Fade to Black ) latest Nero Wolfe/Archie Goodwin escapade, the sixth in his continuation of the late Rex Stout's series. The duo are drawn into a murder in the cathedral when Lloyd Morgan, business manager for televangelist Rev. Barnabas Bay of the Tabernacle of the Silver Spire on Staten Island, asks for help in dealing with the Scripture-quoting hate notes found among the Sunday offerings. Considering Bay a ``clerical mountebank,'' Wolfe passes the case to freelance PI Fred Durkin, who is soon charged with the murder of the church's second-in-command, Royal Meade. Wolfe and Goodwin suspect the actual murderer is another member of the organization's inner Circle of Faith: Lloyd, Bay's loyal wife, the paranoid educational director, a bitter minister, even Bay himself. At a final confrontation, Wolfe unmasks the killer by interpreting additional Bible quotes. Wolfe's chef, Fritz Brenner, NYPD homicide detective Lionel Cramer and fully realized minor characters flesh out this brisk and beguiling page-turner. Mystery Guild alternate. (Oct.)